To Apply or not to Apply, that is the Question

People ask me about applying to job postings. Should they? Shouldn’t they?

If you are waiting on a call back from an online application, you are almost always wasting your time.  The probability is extremely low that the company will find you in the deluge of applicants.  You may feel like you can say to yourself that you were productive today because you applied for 10 jobs, but don’t fool yourself.  But, should you apply?  Of course!  Why you ask?  Well, most companies have a process and you have to follow the process or you can’t get hired.  Ahh, but the key is timing.  You should apply, but not yet!!!

If you see a posting that is interesting, start your research and investigation.  Talk to your friends, colleagues, recruiters, vendors, etc.  See if anyone has a connection that can help you.  Use the back door, side door and front door.  Be creative.  Use referrals, recommendations, introductions.  If a recruiter has a strong relationship, they can be a tremendous resource and advocate.

If you are unable to find that alternate door, then make an educated guess regarding who the hiring mgr might be.  Pick up the phone and make the call.  There will be gate keepers.  You can’t avoid it.  But be polite, friendly and engaging.  Ask them for their assistance in getting to this person.  You may have to try several times and several gate keepers. But be patiently and politely persistent.  Don’t take it personally when they try and dissuade you.  It’s their job.

 You better have a clear, crisp elevator pitch ready to go because you might just get someone on the phone and you have one shot. 

So, when to apply?  1. When you are asked to apply.  Once you are asked in for the interview, you will be asked by someone in HR or Staffing to apply online.  2. You have exhausted your creative juices and have not been able to find that person who will help to get you in front of the Hiring Manager.  Go ahead and apply.  Be sure to call Staffing.  Ask for the recruiter who is responsible for the role.  Let that person know you have applied and are very interested in the opportunity.  Be prepared for that elevator pitch.  Keep in mind that they are getting lots of calls and emails.  Why are you unique and different?  What makes you stand out?

Two more things of importance.  First, Open jobs are like bananas.  They are very perishable.  If you take your time, analyze the situation, you will lose.   Second, even if you don’t get this one, be sure to leave a positive impression, there will be other opportunities…

Happy Hunting!


About annspoor
Ann Spoor is the Jerry McGuire to Corporate Executives and Professionals. She is an Executive Talent Agent, Executive Coach, Career Manager, Executive Branding Expert, and Social Media Coach. Ann lives in Denver with her husband Mark and their 2 kids. The Leadership Lattice is an interview series conducted by Ann Spoor CEO & Founder of Executive Lattice. The series focuses on Leadership in the private & public sector. Please subscribe to this blog to follow along in the discussion.

5 Responses to To Apply or not to Apply, that is the Question

  1. Charlie Busch says:

    Great idea to be ready with the elevator pitch, something frequently overlooked when making initial contact.

  2. Judy Spurgeon says:

    Good advice, it is easy to be lured into believing you are doing all you can while sitting at your computer. In today’s world it is all about networking and creativity and timing.

  3. annspoor says:

    Charlie- I read something recently by Liz Ryan about thinking of an elevator pitch as a bumper sticker. In other words, you should have a short version and a longer version prepared. Thanks for your comment!

    Judy- right! Thanks for your comment!

  4. Andrew Downs says:

    Great food for thought Ann. I know when I’ve made hiring decisions, anyone who has made a connection of some sort really stands out amidst the deluge of resumes. At the same time, I’ve made some hires that have come purely through the recruiter. It seems to me that having that phone call or getting a meeting with the recruiter can be as important as getting to the hiring manager. Thoughts?

    • annspoor says:

      Andrew- You’re right, it can be very instrumental building a connection with the recruiter. However, it depends on the recruiter. I have seen a trend in recent years in some companies where the recruiting organization or sometimes specific recruiters are increasingly building walls and isolating themselves, purposefully. I can think of a recent example where a candidate was able to get a response from the CEO but the recruiter was completely radio silent. Staffing is a complete black hole in this company. They have no accountability to their customer base. Which takes me back to my other post – Customer = Candidate… Thanks for your comments!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: